Continued from Dougie’s Birth Story Part One (A Covid Birth)…
We made our way own to the delivery suite, led by the midwife, with me trying to push any niggles of ‘Oh my Goodness its actually time to push this baby out, how am I going to do it?!!!’ out of my head. I was nervous we’d end up in the same room as the one where I delivered Edie, but when we walked on past it I felt relieved, but also a little sad. I’m still not really sure how to deal with those emotions as it would have been nice to have had two babies born in the same room, but I also wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being back in the same room.
When we got to the delivery suite, it was bigger than I remembered and there was pink on the wall which I thought was nice. I hopped up on the bed and took my leggings off – which is pretty much a necessity when you’re about to give birth. It all felt very surreal.
Stu sat to the left of me while the midwife got in place and were joking about how fast my other labours had been. I really wish I could remember her name, it might have been Julie, but because the shift changed mid-birth, her name wasn’t written on Dougie’s hospital notes and so I don’t think I’ll ever know.
She strapped me up to the monitor and Stu kept looking at the numbers asking if I could feel the contractions when they went up – but I couldn’t feel anything and so thought this time I was handling the pain. I explained how I hadn’t felt anything with Ollie until I was time to push and that my births were typically really fast. She broke my waters, which I was scared about but it did not hurt, it was more like someone pinging an elastic band inside of me. They gushed everywhere and I could feel Dougie move down the birth canal with the pull of the water…’ , we made a joke that she couldn’t leave the room or the baby would be out before she came back – and I could see her laughing thinking ‘they aren’t that quick’ … but actually that’s exactly what happened!(a covid birth)
The midwife left the room to make some notes, and less than a minute later full-blown contractions began. I started to cry because I could remember the pain from Ollie’s birth and I was worried because it was progressing so fast again. All I kept thinking was ‘I can’t do this again, it’s so going too fast.’
Stu went to get the midwife and she came back into the room. I think she was a bit surprised at how far on I was already. Obviously at that moment I needed a wee! So I got down off the bed and more of my waters spilled on the floor making a right mess!! Naturally, my first thought was to grab a towel and start cleaning the floor! (a covid birth)
I walked around the room and every time I got a contraction a little bit more water would come out which made even more mess on the floor – there was so much water! I couldn’t actually feel the contractions building up, but I always knew one was coming, because more water would fall out onto the floor! I suppose they were about a minute apart at this point.
I had in my notes that I didn’t want to be offered any pain relief because it made me feel woozy (this is one thing I regretted about Edie’s birth because I took gas and air and pethidine and it clouded the experience).
Respectful of my wishes she didn’t offer me anything, and I remember thinking that I was grateful for that –but also that I knew I had to take control of the situation to stop me panicking. I got up onto the bed, took off my top and tried to get comfortable by kneeling up and holding onto the back of the bed with my arms. I tried to control my breathing by having a word with myself repeating ‘Don’t panic, you can do this’ and then trying to breath big long breaths up through my nose and out through the mouth, but the contractions were coming so fast, I didn’t really have chance to do a full breath in between them. All I remember thinking about was the pain from delivering Ollie, and think I even said to the midwife that all I could think about was his brown hair coming out. I kept asking if it was time to push, but she said she couldn’t tell me and that I should go with what my body felt – it felt like it was time to push — but it also felt like I was holding back …
At this moment there was a Staff Change – I don’t know what it is with my labours but there always seems to be a Staff Change right at a critical moment!!
Two new girls arrived into the delivery suite and asked me about pain relief. The first midwife said no to them and explained why, but I could hear the new girls say ‘lets get her some pain relief, I think it will help’ . The first midwife agreed and explained to me softly that it might help me to relax and get things moving if I tried it, so I agreed to have some gas and air.(a covid birth)
I held on to her hand and said ‘I’m so sorry I know it’s the end of your shift, but please don’t leave’, I knew we were almost there. She replied by saying she wasn’t going anywhere, which relaxed me and so I held tightly onto her hand, had one puff of the gas and air and just as she’d explained I instantly felt everything relax… One push later and Dougie’s head was crowning. Ouch ouch ouch the ring of fire. I remember this…….. it stiiiiiiiiiiiings!
I kept saying ‘ow ow ow ow ow’ over and over waiting for the next contraction, then another push and he was born at 20.09pm. Our perfect baby boy with ten little fingers, and ten little toes – the midwife held him up so we could see him and he was placed carefully onto my chest, it was unconditional love at first sight and the tears came. ‘Hello Little Man’.
I had mentioned the name Dougie in passing a few weeks before he was born, but we hadn’t decided anything (four babies in and Stu knows better than to discuss baby names with me before the birth because I always change my mind!) But this time it was different, as soon as he was born and we seen his little face, we both agreed that Dougie was the name for him and we said hello properly to our beautiful baby boy.
A few minutes later my body started shaking, I think it was the rush of adrenaline because the labour had been so quick. I was shaking so much that I had to give Dougie to Stu to hold while I sorted myself out. This made me feel a bit sad but also relieved that Stu was there. It took ages for the shaking to stop which meant I couldn’t relax properly with Stu. The midwives gave us an hour together which was kind of them because we were actually only allowed 20 minutes, I’m so grateful for that because I was still shaking 20 minutes later and wouldn’t have been able to hold Dougie. Even with the extra time it was over so quickly and at 9pm it was time for Stu to leave,
Out of all of the experiences I’d had from being pregnant through Covid, this was definitely the worst because I just wasn’t ready for him to leave. Because I’d been shaking I hadn’t really appreciated our time together and I felt really sad when he had to go. This was our special moment, but it had to be cut short. I’d been so independent when Ettie and Ollie were born, but this time I wanted to stay with my husband. I wanted to savour this time while it was just the three of us …. but an hour is all we had.
When I got back to the ward it was late but I couldn’t sleep, I just wanted Stu back to be with me in our baby bubble. Counting down the hours until morning I snuggled in with little Dougie and soaked in his beautiful smell. It was so nice getting to know our new baby and sniffing his little head. He smelled incredible!
I was exhausted and wanted to take a shower, but didn’t want to leave him so wheeled him round to the reception desk. The showers in hospital are about as inviting as the showers at the swimming baths so I quickly jumped in and out so I could get back to Dougie as quickly as possible! I was absolutely starving at this point because I’d missed dinner but there was nothing to eat so I just snuggled into Dougie counting down the hours until morning!
As soon as the sun rose Stu sent me a video message from Ettie and Ollie and I told them it shouldn’t be long until I was home…. but it felt like aaages! I made myself some toast and waited for the Doctors to do their round, counting the hours… packing and repacking my bags! 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am 12am 1pm – can I go home yet? I wasn’t able to phone Stu to come and collect me until I’d been discharged and so I just had to wait… at about 2.00 the midwife came with some paracetamol and I bust out crying saying I just wanted to go home! She managed to rush everything along, Stu came to get me but had to wait outside the ward… I walked out with Dougie, a little bit shaky on my feet. We got the lift to the lower floor, walked out of the hospital and I fell into his arms, giving him a massive cuddle – at last it was time to take our baby home to meet the others.,…